Speaking of Worthy, I thought I'd finally get around to posting my very worthy commission I got at SDCC from the uber talented Reilly Brown. You know him, you love him, its the Man-Thing baby!
I guess one can chalk this up to "saving the best for last," but after narrowing down the pile I'm down to these? Lucky me.
Ahh, first Scalped, and now this.
Sweet Tooth is ending at issue #40. So officially my first and second favorite comics being published right now will be over in 6 months.
I copied Jeff Lemire's blog he posted about it. He says it was entirely his choice to end it at #40, and while thats fine, I always pegged this book for at least 60 issues, and potentially more, because even though Gus and the gang's mission has always been to get to Alaska, I imagined the story spilling off from there, and going much longer, the inevitable revelation that awaits in Alaska providing the necessary fodder to explore as a jumping off point that could take Gus and Jeppard across possibly more of America, Canada, or even other countries or continents.
Well, a guy can dream. I hope the final arc offers the fitting closure this series deserves. I've got a feeling it will.
From the Vertigo Blog:
When I started working on Sweet Tooth three years ago I thought I’d be lucky if the series made it ten issues. I never dreamed I’d be able to tell the kind of sprawling, 40-issue epic that it ended up becoming. In many ways Sweet Tooth’s likelihood of survival in the competitive comics market was about as great as Gus’ likelihood of survival in the post-apocalyptic world he inhabits. After all, who would have bet on a weird little book about a boy with antlers ever surviving in a market flooded with blockbuster cape and tight titles? But somehow it did. Because of my incredibly loyal fans and the a lot of hard work from collaborators like Matt Kindt, Nate Powell, Emi Lenox and, of course, my closest and most valued teammate, the great Jose Villarrubia, Sweet Tooth survived.
So why end it now? I want to make one thing really clear…Sweet Tooth is not being cancelled. The decision to end it at #40 is entirely my choice. Truth is, I always knew what the ending of Sweet Tooth would be. It was one of the first ideas I came up with when writing the pitch for the book. The beginning and the end of this story were always pretty much written in stone, it was the middle bit that was fluid, and grew and changed as I went along. So, for me it’s incredibly gratifying to finally get to the end of the journey with Gus and Jepperd. Everything I’ve done with the series so far, everything I’ve built month after month, has all been about this, the final story.
I suppose I could have stretched it out a bit longer. I could have had a few more obstacles pop up along the way to Alaska to lengthen the journey (and the series), but it just felt like it was time. Gus wanted to get to Alaska now…and who am I to argue? I’ll miss my little antlered friend. But I owe it to him to finish his story properly. To “leave it all on the ice” as they like to say up here in Canada. And that means not prolonging the series just because I can.
But don’t give up on me. I really feel the best is still to come. The final arc, THE WILD KINGDOM, will be full of everything you’ve loved about Sweet Tooth as well asmany new surprises, new characters and new revelations. And it all builds to one final double sized, fully painted final issue with #40 this December.
And then what? Well, stay posted, because the future holds new adventures, new stories and new ideas from Jose Villarrubia and I!
May 4, 2012
Well, at least the fans of Lemire's creator-owned work still have the Underwater Welder to look forward to.
Wow, last night was disappointing.
Not only was I stuck at work for far too long, but in the middle of uploading some files to a server, I pulled out my Kindle Fire to catch up on some reading, and discovered something that is potentially sinister and evil to the highest degree.
Seriously, the shadowy organizations Skull and Bones, Club of Rome, George Soros, and George W. Bush combined could not come up with something as devious and base as what awaited me on opening my e-reader of choice.
Apparently, at the time of writing this sentence, I am unable to download any and all DC comics through Comixology to my Kindle Fire.
Now, one must understand (though with some mild trepidation), that recently I have quietly tiptoed into the digital world of comics. In fact, if one will recall, it was roughly 6 or 7 months ago that I actually began spending money on digital comic books, and did so when DC was launching the New 52 with a big push for day and date digital through partnership with Comixology. I was already familiar with Comixology because of their initiative to sign customers up for electronic pull lists that were tied to a local shop. Since then, they have of course expanded to become the largest purveyor of digital comics in America (just ask Graphic.ly, their closest competition, who only recently bowed out of the fight to focus on publishing digital independent books). I sensed Comixology's dominance fairly early on, and took a chance on buying books from them, because I figured this company seemed to have a good chance of being around in the future.
Since then I've actually been buying a decent amount of digital comics, mostly because all of the sales Comixology has been having. For instance, last week they had an arc or two of Jeff Parker's HULK on sale, and since I had heard good things about the book once Loab and McGinnis left, I bought about 7 or 8 issues. This week, there's an even bigger sale - practically all of Garth Ennis' Dynamite work is half off (The Boys, Battlefields, Jennifer Blood, ect). I had always been looking for a chance to read The Boys, and so I bought the first few issues to sample the series, and fell in love so fast that I ended up buying the entire series they had on sale.
But excuse my digression, I was thinking that somehow Amazon was blocking the sale of all DC comics on the Comixology app, because I couldn't download any DC comic I tried. I was able to download several recent issues of The Walking Dead I had just bought, so that got me to thinking that a nefarious plan by Amazon was being rolled out to force people to only buy DC comics on the Fire from the Amazon store (if anyone remembers, it was big news last year that Amazon and DC made a deal to sell digital DC graphic novels exclusively on Amazon's site).
However, at this point I am happy to say the issue has been resolved. Since I started writing this article, I emailed Comixology's customer support, and they ran a log of my system, and pointed out that I didn't have the latest version of the Comixology app. I reinstalled the new version, bam! problem solved, I can sync all my website purchases through Comixology to the Fire now, including DC comics (side note: Comixology's customer support via email was prompt, courteous and effective - good combination).
However, it is still interesting to note that on the Comixology Kindle Fire app, the DC section is still removed, and it seems to have been done so because of the reasons mentioned above.
At least there is a workaround for this though.
It won't satisfy some people, but for me, the fire has been (at least temporarily) abated.
What a lovely day to be a comics fan.
Because this day, I opened one of my absolutely favorite books that Marvel is publishing, turn to the back of said book, and gaze in rapture at the charming comments within. And whatt'ya know? There's a familiar name...
...and for the visually impared
For those keeping score, this is my second attempt at writing in to a comics letter page (the first being Scalped #48) and for gosh sakes, I'm 2 for 2!
However, for those worried that this column will devolve into me gloating every time my name appears in a comic, fear not, I wasn't kidding when I said I wasn't the letter writing type, but I also wasn't kidding when I said you need to be reading this book.
It really is one of the best things Marvel or anybody else is doing right now.
Kid Loki = Comic Gold. READ. IT.
EDITORS NOTE: Sorry this took me an extra week, it was my original intent to just talk about Ultimate Comic's DEATH OF SPIDER-MAN, but in my usual way, I started rambling about other things. In this case, my memories surrounding the title over the entire 160 issue run. Brace yourself for some recollections!
Last week, in the pages of one of my perennially favorite books, I witnessed the titular character meet his ULTIMATE END (excuse the pun, I had to).
Ultimate Spider-Man holds a special place in my heart. As most passions are wont to do, my love of comics and some of the super-powered characters that inhabit them was kindled at a young age. The earliest memories I have with comics was discovering my uncle's stash, hidden away in my Grandpa's attic. That treasure trove included such gems as Daredevil, Moon Knight, and Fantastic Four, all the way to Werewolf by Night and Man-Thing (I also remember reading my Dad's old issues of Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, as I sat on my bed and imagined parachuting down into occupied territory, machine gun blazing in hand, chomping on a cigar and shouting "wah-hoo" as I rained merciless fury down on Hitler's forces).
Needless to say, I was a Marvel fanboy from an early age.
When it came to Spider-Man though, I didn't have a ton of early memories. I can remember a few scattered issues from the 90's, as well as the occasional team up with Daredevil, but I was never really privy to the old Lee/Ditko issues or any other of the seminal runs of character when I was young. I do remember the 90's TV show, which I absolutely loved (the themes songs for that show and the X-Men cartoon from the same era will be forever imprinted in my brain, but I digress). To that point though, it was always more of an issue with the fact that I couldn't get any Spider-Man comics (or comics in general, due to the fact that my tiny town didn't even have a spinner rack), than it was that I didn't enjoy the character. I do remember reading an old issue of Wizard that covered the trials and tribulations of a Spider-Man movie getting made (remember when James Cameron was going to direct it?). The feature also had a multiple page text piece covering Spidey's history and continuity (think World History: Spidey Edition). So in a way, I knew everything about Spider-Man, but without getting to read the classic stories first-hand that spawned the character.
Eventually however, I graduated high school, left that town, and discovered the joys of living in a city with several comic shops. That was in the early 2000's, and since I was a poor college student at the time, I could only spring for a couple of books every week (even though the Marvel Zombie in me would of liked to have been able to read every single book that Marvel released every Wednesday). However, I was happy to discover Marvel's Ultimate line in that time, which was perfect for a almost-broke student, as I only had to buy 3-4 books to stay current on the entire universe. I loved those books back then, and felt like they completely succeeded in telling fresh, accessible stories, with familiar characters, but with the caveat that you really didn't know what was going to happen, because ANYTHING could happen. Eventually, I backtracked and bought all the trades of the back issues I missed, including Ult. FF, X-Men, and the Ultimates. Since Ult. Spidey was the longest running of those titles, there were quite a few trades to get, but I was lucky enough to find a great EBAY deal for everything up to around issue 80, so I just went from there.
Considering it was such an enclosed universe, with practically no crossovers or big events to deal with, Ultimate Spider-Man became a book that I could go to enjoy every month for fantastic, character-defining stories, with great consistent art from Mark Bagley. In fact, my love of that book actually increased as it went on. As great as those first 100 issues were, I thought it got better and better after the events of "The Clone Saga" which took place around issue 100. I loved that Bendis dusted off the "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends" concept, and had characters like Johnny Storm and Bobby Drake moving in to Aunt May's house, as well as having other great supporting cast members like Liz Allen and Gwen Stacy. It brought a ton of vitality to the book, and I enjoyed practically every second of it. The momentum of the book wasn't even derailed by terrible ULTIMATUM event (in fact, I thought the Ult. Spidey book took far and away the best advantage of the plot points that the main ULTIMATUM book shoved down our throats).
I really enjoyed the relaunch post-Ultimatum as well. The art was a little bit different from what came before with Lafuente on pencils, but it kept to the spirit of the book pretty well in my opinion, and I absolutely loved the plot, as it was really just expanding on the previously mentioned "Amazing Friends" concepts. In fact, I thought Bendis got a second wind (or third, or fourth at this point of the title), and took his character work to a new level. I really just loved Peter Parker in those issues, and felt like if Peter didn't even put on the mask for an arc, i wouldn't mind, just give me more drama with teenage Human Torch and Iceman living with Spider-Man in his aunt's house. Yea, more of that would be good. A perfect example illustrating this was issue #155, masterfully illustrated my Chris Samnee, in which there is practically no action, but fantastic drama between Jonah, Kitty Pride, MJ, and oh by the way, Peter turns 16. Almost brought a tear to my eye (ok, maybe it did).
Then they had to go and kill him.
I'm not going to go into the how's and why's, but needless to say, Peter's greatest nemesis over the course of this title returns to plague the wall-crawler one last time, along with the rest of the Sinister Six (well, almost all of them, you'll have to read the story to find out the details). I guess I'm not really spoiling things, as its in the title, but Peter does really die. I wasn't sure they would actually do it for a while, as I thought maybe it would be a case of "Spider-Man" dying, which would just mean Peter hangs up the mask due to his life just getting too dangerous for a 16 year old to handle. But that would perhaps do for the regular Marvel version of the character, and this is the Ultimate universe, where supposedly anything can happen. Here it does, and now, the biggest icon of this line, introduced over 10 years ago, is finally put to rest.
In terms of the story, these 6 issues feel like a satisfying endcap to this series. It ends how it started creatively, with Brian Bendis scripting and Mark Bagley returning from his DC stint to pencil the book that he was born to draw. As prolific as Bagley's career has been, I've always felt that this book perfectly harnessed his strengths of drawing clean, youthful looking energetic characters, which is a perfect match for a book about mostly a bunch of teenagers. And of course its fitting that Bagley help end Peter's story, as the man made his mark on the series by drawing over 110 consecutive issues. Peter Parker's final story by the duo is permeated by a fitting sense of closure, as most of the characters that been mainstays over the course of the book appear to factor into the outcome, and the climactic finale, set in Peter's neighborhood in Queen's, is explosively huge, and at the same time, dramatically intimate. That last line that Peter says to Aunt May about saving her in the end, even if he couldn't originally save Uncle Ben, brought some emotions up. For the longtime fan, it was a perfect way to see Peter meet his end.
I'm not going to dance around the issue of the necessity of the death however.
I did not want to to see Peter die.
I did not feel that Peter needed to die in the context of where he was a character, and where he was in this universe.
I felt like there were more stories to tell about Peter in the Ultimate Universe (after all, the kid only just turned 16!). The cast of characters that Bendis had assembled was so strong as an ensemble, I absolutely did not want to see the end of a book that was essentially Spider Man and his Amazing Friends. The title was at the top of its game, which on one hand I suppose IS the best time to end a book, but wow, I did not want to see it go. And yes, I know technically that Ultimate Spider-Man is continuing, but no matter how good that book is, it won't be Peter's book anymore. And I know some people will just say, "well if you want to read Peter Parker Spider-Man, read Amazing." However, I disagree with one point - Peter in the Ultimate Universe is NOT the same Peter in the regular Marvel Universe. Its a different character, bottom line. They may have similarities and some of the same cast, but its in name only, the characters in the Ultimate Universe are undeniably different in character and tone, and thats due to the work that the creators that built this universe have done to make a book like Ultimate Spider-Man its own thing. And as far as Miles Morales goes, I'm willing to give the character and the new book a chance, I'm sure Bendis will be able to work his magic with Miles, and that the journey will be fun.
I did read the first 5 issues of the Miles-centric book, and its a fairly strong origin story with some good character work and lovely art, but simply put, its going to be hard to leave Peter behind. Peter Parker as Ultimate Spider-Man roughly coincides with me being able to read comics every month for the first time in my life, so basically that character was my Spider-Man when it came to the pages of comics. I wish Mr. Morales all the best, but he's got some big shoes to fill.
Oh, and for those interested, I also read Mark Millar's Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates miniseries (wow, thats a mouthful) and sadly, although this was probably the best of the four Ultimate Avengers mini's written by Millar, its nowhere near the heights that he took the Ultimates when he was on that title with Brian Hitch. I mention it because its kinda tied in with the Death Of Spidey, as both stories take place at the same time and one event happens that ties the books together. However, you can just read Spidey and be fine, which is probably the best bet - UA vs. NU is a far cry from Millar's best work in this universe, which is sad, because years ago, his work on both the Ultimates and Ultimate Fantastic Four was some of the stuff I was enjoying the most while in college.
Oh well, all good things must come to an end right? In Ultimate Spidey's case, lets hope Bendis is able to extend that end with Miles Morales for as long as possible…
Until then, rest in peace Mr. Parker, its been great ride that I'll be revisiting plenty in the years to come.
This week, I've been reading a lot of this...
...And sadly, this...
So next week, get ready for... this.
(With maybe a bit of this thrown in for good measure)
Here's to being behind, Happy St. Paddy's!
I am 83% of the way through a certain book re-read this week (yes I double dipped and bought the kindle edition, that hardcover is heavy), and so not much comics again this week.
However, I got my comics box yesterday, and there is some GOOOOOODDDDD stuff in there, so next week I'm sure I'll have something to blab about.
This week though, I remembered that I can do ANYTHING with this blog, so I'm simply putting my favorite Superman-related page up. Its so good. Now I want to read All-Star Superman again.
Its been another light week of comics reading, I decided to dive back into Westeros with a second read of George R.R. Martin's "A Dance With Dragons," and see how I felt about the book after reading it again. So for those of you who were expecting a formal opinion on the book way back last year when it was released, you'll probably get it after this re-read, now that my expectations, are… realistic.
Anyways, I did manage to read two comic stories this week, both of which are now relatively recent in the scheme of things. Both of them are from the House of Ideas, and they hit two pillars of the Marvel Universe: Spider-Man and the X-Men. When they were released, they were also marketed as events, but kept a fairly tight focus on the stories at hand (well, maybe not as much in the case of the Spidey one).
I'm talking about Amazing Spider-Man: Spider-Island and X-Men: Schism.
First I'll cover the big doings in Spidey's world.
Spider-Island was a huge story in the fact that it involved Spidey's entire cast of characters, including the Avengers and Fantastic Four, all the supporting characters like Carlie Cooper and Mary Jane, plus Peter's crew at Horizon Labs. It also happened to involve the entirety of Manhattan, because they all get spider-powers. I won't delve too deeply into the story how's and why's other than to say that the device of giving EVERYONE on Manhattan spider-powers was a lot of fun in that you get to see some very unlikely people get powers (I'm sure you can guess one right off the bat - yes, he yells at Peter a lot and wears a handlebar mustache - that was easy).
At the core of the story though the reader gets to once again understand why Peter Parker as Spider-Man is special, and how the idea of everyone having great power, but exercising no responsibility is not a good idea. On a side note, it was grin-inducing to watch everyone see Peter with spider-powers, and it was normal - because everyone had them! The writer Dan Slott has a lot of fun with concepts such as these in the story, and really hits it out of the park in terms of crafting a light-hearted, entertaining story for Spider-fans.
You can tell Slott is having a blast writing the book, and its great to see him take some classic concepts and twirl them around to make a fresh story. If you're reading Spidey its a great time to be on the book, and in fact even though there were a lot of tie-ins to this event, I only read the core book and felt like I got a complete story (although now that I realized Shang-Chi had a mini-series that included Iron Fist and the Immortal Weapons, it may force me to go back and find that particular tie-in). The main story is told completely in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, and I for one am happy Marvel didn't try to get me to buy a separate limited series to get the thing… hopefully we can see more "events" like this.
Schism was a story that seemed to have been coming for a while. It revolves around Scott Summers and Logan, and the differing ideological destination they're reached in their own mind in the span of the last few months. Jason Aaron spins a physiological drama with the backdrop of action, as in the pages we see the sentinel program being dusted off due to the actions of a new and (markedly) different Hellfire Club. The book was interesting art-wise due to the fact that five different artists spanned the 5 issue miniseries, including heavy hitters Alan Davis and Frank Cho. I was pleased to see that Daniel Acuna regained his form on the issue he drew after a shaky performance on Jason Aaron's earlier "Wolverine" run.
This book had a pretty tight focus, the events were constrained mainly to the locations of Utopia and San Francisco, which I think was a smart move since in the end the story centered on Wolverine and Cyclop's battle of wills, which only late in the book turns physical. Aaron crafts some interesting characters here that wouldn't feel out of place in Grant Morrison's New X-Men run (he also cherry-picks a little used character from that run who plays a prominent role here), but I was a little surprised that this ideological falling out between didn't somehow include Professor X and Magneto. Actually, I honestly don't even know where Charles Xavier is these days (he is still alive, right?) but I thought his decades of differing opinion with someone like Magneto would at least factor in somewhat here. On the other hand, the X books have done a pretty fair job of running with the idea that this is Cyclops' show now, for good or ill, and that the torch really has been passed. Perhaps including the Professor would only muddy the waters.
Anyways, I enjoyed the book, it was a little disconcerting to have a different artist every single issue, but the caliber of artist were top notch and so it was easy to forgive. This book really sets the stage for whats to come in the X universe, and although I have yet to read anything post-Schism, I'm excited to do so. I will say that going into this book I was expecting a little bit more from Aaron to get me emotionally involved in the plights of who was right and wrong, but in the end I felt strangely neutral on the subject. These are desperate characters going to extreme measures in a pretty messed up world, and nobody's actions really felt like it was necessarily the correct one.
Oh, and one last thing, and this is a minor nitpick but it annoyed me. At one point Wolverine gets thrown into the ocean and somehow swims to Utopia ahead of a massive sentinel that is approaching the island. In Jason's first arc of his Wolverine: Weapon X series, he lays out that one of Wolverine's biggest weaknesses is water. He can indeed drown, and if he is dropped into water, he can't float due to his metal skeleton. But here he somehow is able to get from a point in the ocean between the shores of San Fran and Utopia to the X-Men's island. I don't like the contradiction, especially since the same writer wrote both stories.
Oh well (that may actually be the harshest thing I've said about Jason Aaron yet… see, I'm objective!)
Even with some minor complaints, Schism is worth a read. Spider-Island is as well, especially if you like fun, classic-feeling Spidey tales.
First off, sincerest apologies for the absence of the WCB last week. It was quite possibly the first time that I just genuinely forgot to post (usually before when I missed a week I at least knew and felt guilty). I even knew what I wanted to do, and towards the end of the week when I'm usually about to get it out I had other things on the plate and didn't even think about it.
Well, this week I'll post on Monday so at least it doesn't feel like several weeks go by without updating my website. What I had in mind for last week will do for this edition I think, which is something different than I have done before. It involves comics previews, and I have to warn you, we are approaching super-nerd territory with this (as if doing 75 weeks of a comics podcast wasn't nerdy enough). It fits with my style of buying comics right now though, because I do my ordering 3 months in advance by looking at each month's comic preview form, which tells consumers what is coming out 3 months from now. Previews are a blessing and a curse, because they can really get you excited about a book, but they can also spoil the devil out of a book you may have already been reading and enjoying when you read the summary of the issue. Of course comic shops are the ones that mostly use previews to order books, and normal consumers can just go in, grab what they want, and be none the wiser. However, the benefit for people like me is that I can order more books that I want for a bigger discount, so if I can manage to have the foresight to employ this system it pays off.
So in keeping with this theme, I want to look ahead and pick my top 3 things I'm excited about from this month's previews. The books listed are from the Feb. edition of previews of course, and the books mentioned will be shipping in April.
I will not spoil you with any summaries of issues. Promise.
1) Batwoman Vol. 1: Hydrology HC
Writer(s): JH Williams III & Haden Blackman
Artists: JH Williams III & Amy Reeder
This one's a no-brainer. Out of most of the New 52, Batwoman was a story that I didn't want messed with by adding a new origin or continuity for, and luckily DC didn't think so either, because by all accounts Batwoman wasn't tinkered with too much in the relaunch. Obviously there is the gaping hole of Greg Rucka not being on the book, but considering Williams is still mostly on art duties, and knowing that he was just as invested as Rucka was in Kate Kane's overall story arc makes me very optimistic about this book. I made the switch with reading all of the DC 52 books digitally, but decided to wait for the hardcovers on this particular series. The art alone deserves that, and even if the story does fall a bit below the standard set by Rucka, at least there's the pretty pictures to look at.
2) Severed HC
Writer(s): Scott Snyder & Scott Tuft
Artist: Attila Futaki
Another no-brainer that I decided to wait for the hardcover on. I love everything Snyder's doing, from American Vampire to Swamp Thing and Batman, and seeing him dip his toes further into the horror genre with this miniseries makes me giddy. Add to the fact that I've heard nothing but good things about this book so far makes it a must buy.
3) Secret Warriors Omnibus
Writer(s): Jonathan Hickman and Brian Bendis
Artist(s): Alex Maleev, Stefano Caselli, Alessandro Vitti, Ed McGuinness, Gianluca Gugliotta, Mirko Colak
My third book that includes at least two writers, and this one will also be the biggest, as it collects all 28 issues of Secret Warriors, plus some one shots and the issues of New and Mighty Avengers that Bendis and Maleev did that covered the early formation of the team. I really loved this espionage series for the entire run, and am glad Marvel stuck with it for the complete story (I don't think it was a huge seller). It ended up being more about Nick Fury and his machinations (plus some great villains) than the actual Secret Warriors team, but as a fan of Fury ever since reading my dad's old issues of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, I for one could not be happier. It really is a very stand-alone tale that can be read as such, and although it does reflect some of what is happening in the Marvel universe, it has a beginning, middle, and end, and feels like a great Nick Fury story you can read anytime.
Planet of the Apes Vol. 2 - This book from BOOM! is all kinds of awesome, and if you have even a passing interest in the Apes franchise check it out, it's a fantastic mix of political intrigue, heated conflict, and adventure. You deserve to check it out.
Saga #2 - Brian K. Vaughn does comics again. Yay!
Wolverine and the X-Men Vol. 1 HC - The premise of this book sounds like a spiritual successor to Morrison's New X-Men. Plus Jason Aaron writes it. Sold.
Aaron Brewer is an aspiring filmmaker, musician and writer living in Los Angeles. There are many irons in the fire, and hopefully one day he'll be able to complete all the ideas he has floating around in his brain stew.